||(C) 1998 Andrew C. Stone|
Now that developers have had a chance to begin evaluating the changes needed to bring their Mac and Rhapsody Apps to the unified APIs of MAC OS X, it might be interesting to look at some of Apple's hidden meanings and sought after advantages behind the good Doctor's spin.
First, I thought I'd deconstruct into cultural meme-bits the significance of the big "X" in Mac OS X - using Roman numerals is no stranger to the American broadcast landscape and tightly correlates with that first, effective "Big Brother" Macintosh commercial aired during Super Bowl 1984. Translation: "Apple computer - as perennial and American as apple pie and football."
Now, the "Ten" part of the meaning. The move away from the precarious tower of babel that is the current Mac OS (let's face it - there is some awesome technology leveraged off the beginnings of a 128K, single floppy drive, black and white system) is significant enough to rate a jump in the normally integer incremented OS numbering system. This says, "Apple is not going away, we already know our plan well into the next century."
The fact of the matter is that there were more features added between Mac OS 8.0 and Mac OS 8.1.x then between Windows 95 and Windows 98. Mr. Bill got more press because he was forced to delay shipping from Friday afternoon to Monday morning. I don't know about your company, but how much actually gets shipped in that timeframe anyway? The further the Big M goes down its road ahead, the more secure Mac OS X developers' futures are.
The "X" - Generation X, Malcolm X, X-Files, X window system (ahh!), eXistentialism, etc. The "X" is pronounced "Ten", as many Apple Engineers were continually encouraged to correct themselves on stage at WWDC last week. As to Ten, we have the most fundamentally transformative memeset of the entire Gen X and Boomer generations, and I'm not talking about Moses' Ten Commandments, but Star Trek in its various incarnations. And what's the fastest you can go in this universe, why "MACH 10", I mean "Warp 10" of course!
The Apple strategy folks did a fabulous job, but let's dig deeper into the significance for the formerly recalcitrant Mac developers who didn't trust yet another potentially short-lived API. Of course as salty NeXT Developers know, Rhapsody has 10 years of proven stability and deployment. There is a tremendous difference between a shipping OS that is the high end darling of the Military/Industrial/Entertainment complex and the still-dripping-in-amniotic-fluid adventure of Copland, for example. Presently, there are several levels of motivation available to the Mac cognescenti:
1. No disruption of market: It's just MAC OS
All your old Mac market is yours to keep, and no "Carbon Intel" will prevent raiding of this market.
2. Several porting comfort levels:
- do nothing, but continue to sell product
- do little, and never bomb the machine again
- start new and as a bonus, deploy to the WINTEL world (YB developers!)
3. The awesome low cost G3's are setting new hardware standards that guarantee an installed base of machines when X ships.
I believe that once Mac developers start playing in our Yellow Sand Box via their Carbon port, they will embrace the Light and Power of working with high level, portable, easy-to-read and understand APIs, and the transformation of the Macintosh will be inevitably successful.